Atlas Introduction

Welcome to the Atlas Documentation. On these pages, you’ll find relevant material about using Atlas to produce books for print and digital formats.

What Is Atlas?

Atlas is O’Reilly’s production application that creates the print and web versions of a book. With Atlas you can:

  • Write in a Visual Editor or in one of three markup languages: AsciiDoc, HTMLBook, or DocBook XML

  • Build EPUB, PDF, and HTML from a single set of source files

  • Take advantage of Git infrastructure, enabling version control and collaboration

Editing Environments

Atlas supports two online editing modes: the Visual Editor and the Code Editor.

In the Visual Editor, you write in an online environment that is similar to a traditional word processor. This editor gives you a toolbar with all your standard formatting tools and lets you write in a clean environment while still providing the underlying document structure that is necessary to build your project.

The Atlas visual editor

Behind the scenes, you’re actually getting well-formed HTML5—specifically, HTMLBook, our open standard for writing books (or book-like projects) in HTML.

If you prefer writing using a markup language, then you are able to use the Code Editor. In this text markup mode, you can use HTMLBook, DocBook XML, or AsciiDoc (a language similar to Markdown but more robust for presenting complex information). All of these languages can still be built to all four output formats.

The Atlas code editor

You can also use Atlas’s Git integration to work offline with your preferred text editing software. See Atlas + Git for more information.

Build All Formats from a Single Source

Like the web, Atlas separates content from presentation. Once you’ve written your material, you can “build” it into the publishing and distribution formats used in production at O’Reilly: PDF or EPUB. On the the Configure page, simply drag and drop the files in the order you would like them to appear into the Build Contents list, hit Save, and Atlas handles the rest.

Typesetting with Themes

Projects in Atlas are typeset using "themes"—full stylesheets, written in CSS and XSL, specific to the O’Reilly series to which a title belongs. This ensures that every O’Reilly title is professionally and consistently styled without having to be individually typeset. O’Reilly editorial and production staff will provide the custom path for the O’Reilly book series themes.

Content Stored with Git

Atlas projects are based on Git repositories. Git is the powerful version control system that tracks every change in your content, who made it, and when. Tracking a project with Git means that your content is secure and can be rolled back to a previous version if necessary, and provides the functionality for seamless collaboration tools.